4 out of 5 stars
Those who know me know that I'm not fond of restaurants in malls. My reasoning is, if you have money to spend on food, why spend it on the same restaurant chains over and over when you could use the same amount to discover new establishments? Who knows? You might discover new ingredients, new flavors, or new cuisines you never even knew you enjoyed --- all for the same amount of money that you would have spent for, say, TGIF. Perhaps the only impediment to trying out new restaurants would be the money and the effort in looking for new places. The solution to the money problems would be to be creative. Amici di don bosco in Makati, for instance sells authentic handmade pasta and pizza for the half the price of Italianni's. Their carabao's milk gelato only costs 35 a pop, and it tastes even better knowing you don't have to empty out your wallet for a meal. Fat Michael's near Magallanes is an offbeat restaurant that has charmingly mismatched furniture to complement their creative yet down-home comfort food for only 200-400 pesos. Latasia in Katipunan serves vegan dishes for 60-150 pesos --- a steal I know. For those who are too lazy to look for restaurants, there are a lot of bloggers out there who love food as much or even more than I do. Here are some of the sites I keep in my bookmark for easy reference:
So I hope with these tips, there's no excuse for you all to be a little more experimental with restaurants. But I digress from my mall-restaurant story.
Pasha, this restaurant found in Greenbelt, is not your typical mall resto. These are one of the few restaurants in Greenbelt that actually make an effort to fix up an authentic Middle Eastern treat. I have a Turkish friend who visited and said that out of all the restaurants he's tasted, this is the closest to being authentic as you can get.
Actually, the menu serves the same dishes you'd find in other Mediterranean restaurants --- kebabs, shawarmas, falafels, baklavas --- the only difference is that the quality and taste is way better than your regular cafe. For example, we started our meal with their Pasha special platter --- a mix of their top-selling mezzes. It was served creatively in a large wooden platter, the rich tabbouleh in the middle being flanked by hummus, muttabal , lamb koftkas and filo sticks, with the pita basket to one side. We had a great time trying the mezzes one by one, or trying out certain combinations and making them look like mini-gyros. The hummus was delicious because it had the right amount of tahini with a lemon kick that was not overpowering, drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of sumac to bring out its flavor. The muttabal was very earthy from the flame-grilled eggplants, also with a lemon-y kick to tie up with the other mezzes. The couple of Turkish beef kofkas (meatballs) were delicious on its own, because it had a green filling (falafel, I suspect) topped with a tomato relish. And lastly, the two filo sticks were in fact halloumi cheese wrapped in filo pastry, and the taste was so delicate that it was the perfect dipping stick to the hummus, muttabal and tabbouleh.
One of my friends had the beef shawarma, while the other had the beef shish kebab. I guess the main difference between these two is that the latter is charbroiled and served with Turkish rice, while the shawarma (as we know) is wrapped in pita that is flavored with their dipping sauces. The presentation was superb, the shish kebab lined up in this horizontal white glass plate, while shawarma looked colorful with its sauce and sidings. My friends liked their dishes, only that one of my friends found the coriander or tumeric spice too overpowering. I ordered the Pasha lapu-lapu. It's this big fillet of chargrilled lapu-lapu that you squeeze lemon into. It's paired with blanched vegetables and Turkish rice. Actually, I requested for the Turkish rice, because it's really supposed to be just plain white. But for anyone who's ordering a rice dish, I suggest that you pair any of the viands with their Turkish rice because it has this tomato-based spice that gives the rice such a rich taste that pairs well with their normally grilled meats. My meal was delicious, and it was accompanied by a yoghurt cream dip that i slathered all over my fish and vegetables. Yummmmmy!
Be prepared to shell out 500 - 800 per meal. It's quite pricey, but the service, ambiance and food is excellent. My only regret is that we had lunch in Pasha instead of dinner. The ambiance is defeinitely better at night, with the subdued yellow lighting and candle-lit tables that accentuates the coziness of their middle-eastern architecture. Although you don't need to reserve, it's better to do so, so you can request for this couched area found in a small private alcove tucked to the side of the restaurant. I don't know what it's called, but I'm sure the waiters will know what you're referring to if you used the same descriptions. Happy eating!
Pasha, Greenbelt 3 Ayala Center; Tel. 63-2-757-4981, 757-4983